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Not government size, but who it's for


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#1 duke_Qa

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:33 PM

Pretty much defines the troubles of our times this one:

The defining political issue of 2012 won't be the government's size. It will be who government is for.

Americans have never much liked government. After all, the nation was conceived in a revolution against government.

But the surge of cynicism now engulfing America isn't about government's size. It's the growing perception that government isn't working for average people. It's for big business, Wall Street, and the very rich instead.

In a recent Pew Foundation poll, 77 percent of respondents said too much power is in the hands of a few rich people and corporations.

That's understandable. To take a few examples:

-- Wall Street got bailed out but homeowners caught in the fierce downdraft caused by the Street's excesses have got almost nothing.

-- Big agribusiness continues to rake in hundreds of billions in price supports and ethanol subsidies. Big pharma gets extended patent protection that drives up everyone's drug prices. Big oil gets its own federal subsidy. But small businesses on the Main Streets of America are barely making it.

-- American Airlines uses bankruptcy to ward off debtors and renegotiate labor contracts. Donald Trump's businesses go bankrupt without impinging on Trump's own personal fortune. But the law won't allow you to use personal bankruptcy to renegotiate your home mortgage.

-- If you run a giant bank that defrauds millions of small investors of their life savings, the bank might pay a small fine but you won't go to prison. Not a single top Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for Wall Street's mega-fraud. But if you sell an ounce of marijuana you could be put away for a long time.

Not a day goes by without Republicans decrying the budget deficit. But the biggest single reason for the yawning deficit is big money's corruption of Washington. And it's not just corporate welfare.

One of the deficit's biggest drivers -- Medicare -- would be lower if Medicare could use its bargaining leverage to get drug companies to reduce their prices. Why hasn't it happened? Big Pharma won't allow it.

Medicare's administrative costs are only 3 percent, far below the 10 percent average administrative costs of private insurers. So why not tame rising healthcare costs for all Americans by allowing any family to opt in? That was the idea behind the "public option." Health insurers stopped it in its tracks.

The other big budgetary expense is national defense. America spends more on our military than do China, Russia, Britain, France, Japan, and Germany combined. The basic defense budget (the portion unrelated to the costs of fighting wars) keeps growing, now about 25 percent higher than it was a decade ago, adjusted for inflation.




[...]


And so on and so forth. This is the real problem we are facing. Governments are meant to help the people, not the rich and powerful. We've had millennia of rich and powerful people running the show. Going around saying government is the problem isn't the answer. Going around saying "The government" is the problem might be closer to the truth: The ones in charge these days are not the ones we want to have in charge. Hopefully the picture will change as elections come around.

"I give you private information on corporations for free and I'm a villain. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he's 'Man of the Year.'" - Assange


#2 Tom

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 08:33 PM

Unfortunately, I believe that when government expands it attracts those that wish to use it's authority for self-serving purposes. Small government has less of an incentive for rich and powerful to try and influence.

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#3 Pasidon

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 08:58 PM

True, but at any rate, American government in general will be driven by the rich... big or small. All you need is a few leaders that are humble enough to looks past dollar amounts, and are bold enough to know how business works.

And Dukie, you use the word 'we' in this one, yet the topic seems to be referring to 'US' when you're 'NW'.

Americans have never much liked government. After all, the nation was conceived in a revolution against government.


True that. We're a nation founded by ingenious terrorists with a mastery of politics. This nation was built because of the oppressing nature of government so we may better our stance as individuals who stand alone without any need for major governing. The system really does work, but only if those in charge remain dedicated to serving rather than ruling. That didn't happen. Ronald Regan is evidence that our government can be selfless. I'm reading his book right now... amazing guy. He made the Democratic part look like Mordor compared to his Conservative savvy that formed his accomplishments.

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#4 duke_Qa

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:34 PM

Believing a government is be run by the rich is one thing, but giving them it without a fight is another. getting cash out of politics


Whats 'NW'? Northwestern US? Might have understood 'NEU'/Scandinavian :). I consider the economic imbalances a western problem, which will cause much harder times if we don't get real about them asap.

Problem with the US right now is that its coming full circle again. Back in the day England was your 1%, today its the economic 1%. And cutting government is the last thing you'd want to do now. Would America have won the war against England back in the day if they instantly beheaded all their bureaucrats with their first revolt? They'd lose it instantly.

On the topic of Reagan/Reaganomics, Statistics show that tax-cuts on the rich have rarely if ever caused economic updrafts. I think the best logic for taxes and rich is "if you don't spend a majority of your surplus on jobs/trade positive for this nation, we will END you", not "if we let you have less taxes, will you spend that money on making jobs..? pretty please?"


Unfortunately, I believe that when government expands it attracts those that wish to use it's authority for self-serving purposes. Small government has less of an incentive for rich and powerful to try and influence.



But without a good government, they will go for corporations instead, and they don't care about votes. Having governments without powers to stop the global corporations is madness in this day and age. The only way we can keep the governmental system we currently have is by slicing the world economy down to 10% of today and in the same stroke, 75% of the human population. I don't see that happening in a orderly fashion. I rather have a bunch of power-hungry madmen in a government that gets voted out than in a business-run prison nation like NK. Also, with less 1% oriented laws, miracles can happen.






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#5 Pasidon

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 07:30 PM

No way... NW makes way more sense to be Norway. In terms of syllables when saying the word 'Norway', NW makes more sense due to the lack of EU in the word. Well anyway...

I think what Tommy and I are both referring to is a government lacking enough power to be controlled by the people, but enough power to function as a proprietor of defense. Big corporations and sinister war criminals would still be a concern as they should be in any government scenario. I have a good chapter about this in my Regan book, but I'm not freakin' Nam and I have no will to type anymore than this in any debate. But to summarize, government should be about who looses money just as much as who gains money.

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#6 duke_Qa

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 08:31 PM

Well we use the .no domain so that would have been more logical for me, NW sounds like a wind-direction or an American state to me :p

So, you want a government that is powerless enough to be controlled by the people but powerful enough to control defense and corporations... going to be hard to find a answer to that riddle.

Weak or strong, a government should be controlled by the people, period. Saying that a powerful government is bad because the people can't control it seems a bit weird, a government should always be under control of the people.

"I give you private information on corporations for free and I'm a villain. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he's 'Man of the Year.'" - Assange





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